Before 2001-02, the public's only avenue to choose who made music was through buying records. We were at the mercy of record companies and their talent scouts to decide who ended up on the radio. All of this changed though, with the creation of popular singing contests on TV. Of course, I'm talking about American Idol.
It's a staple in the TV industry as well as the music industry. American music listeners had the chance to choose their stars. Now, it's ending, and because we all got distracted by NBC's The Voice we're about to loose the purpose of the genre: finding stars. Isn't that OK? HECK NO!!!
"Well, we still have the Voice, and it's better!" you say? Allow me to walk you through something I discovered. An inconvenient truth if you will. Just with a less serious message and no Al Gore. Here are three things I knew but hadn't thought through when I started to get into the Voice and drop American Idol.
1: The Judges Can't See The People Auditioning
"But that's good! It's less bias!"
True. That's very true. On American Idol, looks are kind of a factor, but think this through. People are fickle. We all may go "Wow! That person can sing!" for now, but when the show ends, the novelty wears off. Idol picks stars. The judges are picking people with talent who are also in good enough shape to perform shows and will attract fans when they're on billboards and posters. That, no doubt, could happen on the Voice as well, but that's not their goal. They look for singers not stars. Let's face it, we may all say "We don't care about looks! All we want is talent!" but we're liars! We drop these Voice contestants as soon as the next season starts! Idol has always known this. They know that whatever we may say, we're all picky. We want the whole package. We want stars, not singers.
2: The Judges' Banter
The judge chemistry on The Voice is admittedly far better than Idol. Blake and Adam are classic now, but when did this become about the judges? Idol was originally all about the contestants. During auditions, we had a couple of Kelly Clarksons and then a sea of "pants on the ground" and people dressed in banana suits. But the Voice made us focus on the judge panel and to keep up, Idol lost it's heart. On the Voice, I'm not cheering for the singers, I'm cheering for team Adam or team Gwen. The judge panel was originally created to find talent for us to vote on, not to steal the show from the contestants. Idol is a show about Kelly Clarksons, Carrie Underwoods, and Jennifer Hudsons. It granted them fame. The Voice is a publicity stunt for Adam Levine, Pharrel, Gwen Stefani, and Blake Shelton. They've had their fame, now give someone else a chance!
3: The Prize
This one is plain and simple. Idol gives winners a recording contract to make their own music. The Voice gives money. Yes, money could definitely help one's career, but money can't compare to the opportunities granted with an Idol recording contract. That contract could bring someone a sustainable income from a career in the music business, as apposed to one lumped sum of money.
American Idol has brought us so much! Because of Idol we have huge stars like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Daughtry, Adam Lambert, Scotty McCreary and so many more! Let's not let it go so easily! Let's set our DVRs to record Idol again. Lets trend #saveidol. Lets reach out to the Fox network. Lets give it our best shot, just like the handful of Idols that did so and lived their dreams!